Donal Logue: the 10 records that changed my life
Years before nabbing his breakout role as Detective Harvey Bullock in the hit Fox show Gotham, and long before memorable turns in films and shows such as The Tao Of Steve, Blade, Sons Of Anarchy and Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, actor Donal Logue tried his hand at singing for a post-punk band.
“My best buddy in college was Clay Tarver, who went on to form Bullet LaVolta," Logue explains. "When he was just starting to put the band together, he said, ‘You should sing, dude.’ Let's just say that didn’t work out. I was crushed at first, because I really love music. Fortunately, I found some other things to do."
Logue did ultimately work with Bullet LaVolta – as a road manager – along with another Boston-based band, The Lemonheads, whom he was also friends with. He remembers their late '80s tours as being anything but grand: “It was a Peugeot station wagon pulling a U-Haul trailer," he says with a laugh. "Three of us would lie in the back on the car, one guy would drive and another guy sat in the passenger seat. Eventually, we had a 15-person van with a little trailer in the back. We couldn’t afford hotels, so we’d find fans’ apartments to crash at. It wasn't glamorous, but what an amazing time we had."
Logue describes his instrumental skills as "rather limited, sadly – since the age of 12, I've progressed as a guitarist less than anyone I know," but he remains a fervent music fan. "Music has informed the way I think and has enriched my life in indelible ways," he says. "Because I also own a trucking company, I've spent long periods of time driving. Sometimes it can be one record over and over; other times I'm going through tons of things. I couldn't picture going through this world without a deep love of music, and I don't think I'd want to try."
On the following pages, Logue runs down the 10 records that changed his life.
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
“When I was a kid growing up on the Mexican border, I had a friend who let me crash in his room for a while. He had a couple of records that I intrigued me – one was the Grateful Dead’s Terrapin Station and the other was Wish You Were Here. The Pink Floyd cover looked really interesting, so I put it on – and I was done.
“This was the gateway drug for me. After listening to Wish You Were Here, I went back and discovered The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, A Saucerful Of Secrets, the soundtrack to Obscured By Clouds, More – I was completely hooked into the whole Pink Floyd thing.
“Wish You Were Here is a remarkable album, and it remains a real go-to for me. I never get tired of listening to it.”
Jim Croce – Photographs & Memories (His Biggest Hits) (1974)
“My friend Mike’s dad had an RV, so I would ride with them in it to the desert. They had an 8-track of this album in the RV, and one day I asked it I could borrow it. I had this big piece of furniture in my room – it was like a couch with an 8-track player on the end. I would sit in my room and listen to this Jim Croce 8-track all the time.
“Then Mike’s dad told me that Jim Croce had died in a plane accident, and that really affected me. I knew the music before I knew anything about the man and his death. I connected with his music and lyrics so much, and I just couldn’t believe that he was gone. It was so sad.
“To me, Jim Croce remains one of the all-time greats. People don’t talk about him enough these days, but he’s a super-important artist in my book.”
Queen – A Night At The Opera (1975)
“Outside of a couple of Ronco and K-Tel collections, the first album that I bought with my own money from mowing lawns was Queen’s A Night At The Opera. In retrospect, while I might have preferred Queen’s first album and Queen II, A Night At The Opera holds a really special place in my heart.
“Obviously, there’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which is brilliant, but I absolutely loved The Prophet’s Song. What a dramatic piece of music – and man, does it rock. And I love Roger Taylor’s I’m In Love With My Car, too. He can really sing; he does a great job on that song.
“I’m a massive, massive Queen fan. Sure, I love the canon of Zeppelin, The Who and all of those other great bands, but I don’t know if there were ever four stronger and more unique musicians in their respective positions than what we had in Queen. I say that while understanding that, of course, there’s The Beatles – they’re kind of separate.”
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
“In the summer of ’77, we would take a station wagon and go camping in Mission Bay, up in San Francisco. At the time, Physical Graffiti was the most ubiquitous album in my life, along with Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak. That music evokes so many memories of that period for me.
“As I was making this list up, I played Physical Graffiti, and all of those images from 1977 came flooding back to me. In My Time Of Dying is such a remarkable song; I can’t say enough about how amazing that song is. The entire record is such a dream. Listening to it is like watching La Dolce Vita. In some ways, it feels like a long journey, but it’s so beautiful that it’s like escaping into this whole other world. So it's a journey you want to take."
Black Uhuru – Red (1981)
“I used to work at a record store called The Archives in El Centro. There were some older-guy musicians who worked there – one of them was a guy named Benny Arduna. Around this time, I was listening to Bob Marley, and one day Benny said, ‘You’ve got to check this record out,’ and it was Black Uhuru’s Red.
“I didn't know what to expect, but it knocked me out. There was something so raw and punk rock about the band's style of reggae; it spoke to me more than a lot of other artists who were working in the same genre.
“I love Peter Tosh and, of course, Bob Marley – if I had to create a Mount Rushmore, Bob Marley would be on it. But the reggae record I most turn to is Red.”
Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen (1993)
“It’s no secret that I’m great friends with Greg Dulli. While I was road manager for Bullet LaVolta, I met the Afghan Whigs on tour, in 1989. They blew me away. Even though Greg is one of my oldest and dearest friends, I’m also one of the biggest super-fans of the group.
“Gentlemen has been with me through so much of my life. I quit drinking a million years ago, after Greg and I started hanging out. Fountain And Fairfax is a song that I have such a deep personal connection to. The whole record just kills me.
“I love when records take me on a journey, and Gentlemen does that for me in every way possible. When I go on a long car trip, it might start with this album, and it might stay that way for the first 1500 miles. Gentleman is one of the most impactful records of my life, without a doubt.”
The Beatles – The Beatles (1968)
“Like I said, The Beatles deserve their own special place, their own lists. You could have the top Beatles moments, top songs, top albums – whatever you want to call it. No matter what you're talking about, they're sort of separate from everybody else.
“I’ve gone through different Beatles phases – sometimes it’s Revolver, sometimes it’s Sgt. Pepper, and other times it’s Abbey Road – but I always come back to the White Album. It’s a little like Physical Graffiti in that it’s a longer document, but it’s a journey that’s always fulfilling.
“Back in the day, The White Album was one of those records that, if you borrowed it from a friend, they would threaten to beat your ass if anything ever happened to it. And I do remember borrowing it from a friend, and as I rode my bike across town with it, I was just praying that I didn’t drop it or scratch it. It was truly a prized possession, and you wanted to keep it in a cocoon.
“The White Album changed my life. The amount of music The Beatles put on this record, the different kinds of music they explored, it’s pretty staggering. They were so confident about what they were doing here. They had achieved a level of success that no one ever dreamed of, and they knew that their every instinct was correct.”
Thin Lizzy – Live And Dangerous (1978)
“This is an incredibly personal selection for me. There was a big portion of my life that was devoted to heavy metal. My parents are from Ireland, and I spent a lot of time there. My cousin, James O’Shea, turned me on to Thin Lizzy. I already had heard them on the radio with The Boys Are Back In Town and Jailbreak, but Live And Dangerous was my real introduction to the band.
“I can’t even try to count how many nights flying through desert roads in our Mustang or ’69 Camaro when it was just rockin’ out to Live And Dangerous. A seriously amazing album. Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham are unbelievable guitarists, and Phil Lynott, my God, he was the greatest Irish rock hero of all time.
“This album is still very important to me. I have a deep, deep emotional connection to it. Last year, I was on a biking tour in Ireland, and one of the first times I did was visit Phil’s grave. There's never been a guy like him.”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968)
“The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix was completely mind-numbing. I just couldn’t believe that anybody could do those things on the guitar. Like everybody, I heard Foxy Lady and Hey Joe, but I was kind of unprepared for Electric Ladyland, which knocked me right down.
“1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) is a brilliant song and a fantastic experience. It's mystical, epic, extraordinary and beautiful. The whole record is a powerful and joyful explosion of creativity. It’s my essential Jimi Hendrix album. I don't know how you could listen to it and not be a changed person.”
Djivan Gasparyan – I Will Not Be sad In This World (1989)
“This is another personal one. Djivan Gasparyan is an Armenian musician who plays an instrument called a duduk. For anybody who doesn't know him, he played that haunting and plaintive music you heard on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation Of Christ.
“I was going through a hard time, and this awesome woman named Alexis Smart turned me on to a record of Djivan’s called I Will Not Be Sad In This World. It’s beautiful all-instrumental Middle Eastern music, and it really hit me in so many powerful ways. I just know that I'll listen to this record for the rest of my life."